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With a Little Help From My Friends
Posted By Greg Prince On March 8, 2005 @ 9:27 pm In Main Page | Comments Disabled
Split-squad games are unique to spring training. Too bad. Wouldn't it be great to keep an extra contingent of Mets on hand for those occasions when they could be helpful? Let's say it's one of those days when the Mets and Yankees are both home and we'd like to help out whoever's visiting the Bronx. We could dispatch Auxiliary Mets, and suddenly the Orioles are enhanced. Or if it's September and we desperately need to make up ground on the Braves. We play our usual game while Auxiliary Mets fly into, say, Colorado to hit home runs.
And no, nobody else can take advantage of this innovation.
Andres Galarraga is older than Darryl Strawberry. Galarraga is still playing. Darryl claims it was Davey Johnson who urged him this winter to get back into baseball. “He told me I played the game right,” he said on Channel 2 last night. Darryl famously grabbed his back to skulk out of a late-season game against the Expos one year and then straightened up as soon as the manager was out of view. But it's nice to remember things differently.
There was a Mary Tyler Moore in which it appeared Ted Baxter would be fired. Lou and Mary had mixed emotions. Mary said she once had this wart that she couldn't stand, but when it was gone, it was strange — do you understand what I mean, Mr. Grant? Yeah, he said.
“If I didn't miss that wart, why should I miss Ted?”
Hence the dilemma over the drumbeat that has Joe McEwing unlikely to make the Mets. We've all seen far too much of Joe McEwing for the past three seasons, but that's not Joe's fault. It's the Mets' fault for being in the position of having to play him. For a couple of years, Super Joe may have been the best utility player we ever had. He was versatile, he hustled, he owned (or leased) Randy Johnson, he had an attitude to die for, he got a few big hits, he drove a forklift when Shea served as a staging area after 9/11. Super Joe was super.
Now Super Joe is excess. Better backup guys are crawling all over Tradition Field. McEwing may be McGone any day now. And it doesn't feel right. Joe's second on the team in tenure. Mike is first. Mike has been a Met longer than Keith Hernandez was. I'm surprised to realize that.
I heard a reference to Beltran earlier today and thought “Rigo?” I was really surprised to think that.
Been reluctantly listening to “Mike & The Mad Dog” because they're live from camp. They interview each player via remote, kiss up to him, and then when the player disconnects, they discuss why that player isn't so good.
Todd Van Poppel, we didn't know ya at all. If he were capable of pitching, he'd be a Brave. But having suited up, he didn't set the record for Met & Run. That would be held by non-roster invitee Kevin Stocker who, in 2001, journeyed all the way from Washington state to his St. Lucie-area hotel before deciding to give up baseball altogether, not even bothering to report. He came to spring training but he didn't come to play. Jeff Pearlman, then with Sports Illustrated, recorded this underreported quote from assistant GM Jim Duquette: “If you're a minor leaguer, you quit. But since he was a veteran, he retired.”
It was 10 years ago tonight, after working a week of absolutely insane even for me hours, I hopped on the Meadowbrook Parkway going south. All at once, in the middle of rush-hour traffic, I desperately wanted to stop the world and get off – total vapor lock. I struggled the last few miles of my trip, chalking it up to fatigue. But I never again got wholly comfortable behind the wheel, especially on highways, which are roads I avoid like Robin Ventura skillfully avoided tags. Maybe someday. Until then, thank goodness for the LIRR and the 7, and thanks to anybody and everybody who's given me a ride home from Shea over the past decade.
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